ArchiWEB Explorer: the New York Times

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Reclaiming Polish Brutalism: Discover the Emblems of Communism

Falowiec / Gdańsk. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Falowiec / Gdańsk. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

To strip a city of its architecture is to erase its history altogether. Despite a widespread public distaste for Brutalism, the brutalist era in architecture often went hand in hand with political movements promising an egalitarian vision in post-Stalinist Poland. What may now be considered austere and overbearing was originally intended to be anything but; the buildings today carry both an appreciation for their legacy and the burden of unwanted memories.

In a recent article in the New York Times, writer Akash Kapur documents his visit to Poland, bringing readers into his experiences and observations of this complex response to Polish architecture. From sharing its history to short anecdotes from interviews, the piece postulates whether these relics can become alive again.

A Toddler Peers Over the US-Mexico Border Fence for JR’s Latest Installation

[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

Set on scaffolding just across the rust-red fence marking the border between Tecate, California and Mexico, street artist JR’s latest installation is a towering statement on immigration issues in the United States. A one-year-old boy named Kikito peers over to the other side with all the innocence and naiveté of childhood, just days after the current U.S. administration announced its intention to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) immigration program.

The site-specific work is precisely angled to create the illusion that the child is grasping the top of the fence, looking out onto the Californian terrain. Like most of JR’s works, the 70-foot-tall image is rendered in black and white; the child is from the local community on the Mexican side of the border. Curated by Pedro Alonzo, the work asks onlookers to consider the fate of the 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ whose parents wished them a better future.

28 in 28 #8: Townhouses

February is Book Month on A Daily Dose of Architecture. The "28 in 28" series features a different book every day of the month.

Construction and Design Manual: Townhouses by Hans Stimmann
DOM Publishers, 2011
Hardcover, 300 pages


99th Edition of the Armory Show

From Susan B. Komen to Kony, public discourse is the art “Happening,” taking to the streets and Twitter to affect global change and re-invention. Fortified with OWS, riots, performances, street art and viral social media campaigns, our public policy as well as our public lives are shaped by this expanding discourse. Art for social exchange and change is vital to this discourse. With spring madness upon us, I continue my interest in how art can be shared by the community as part of the envisioning and evolution of the species.

Fragments of RPBW

Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Fragments

In a summer of must-see architecture exhibitions (specifically I'm referring to Le Corbusier at MoMA), there is one more, at the Gagosian Gallery on West 21st Street: Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Fragments, which runs until August 2. I stopped by on Thursday for the opening reception.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Fragments

Twenty-four tables document the same number of projects in the large skylit space, with even more models and photos overhead.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Fragments

The opening reception was the least ideal time to visit the exhibition and get immersed in any of the projects, be it the Pompidou, the Tjibaou Cultural Center, the New York Times Building, or one of the in-progress projects on display. The large numbers of people just accentuated the sheer quantity of models, drawings, photos, books, and other objects on display, while making it impossible to sit down and examine the materials.

Cultivating the Present

We talk, endlessly, it seems, about the impact of technology on our lives, our relationships, our work, and workspaces and we worry about what it’s doing to our physiologies. Now the inimitable writer, Diane Ackerman offers, in her blog in The New York Times, a characteristically elegant and pointed commentary on this topic; it’s been on my mind ever since I read it.

New World Trade Center Park Will Perch Above 9/11 Memorial Site

aecom, battery park city, Elevated Parks in New York, Financial District, Joseph E. Brown, Liberty Park, Liberty Street Park, lower manhattan, Parkland, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Santiago Calatrava, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, World Trade Center, World Trade Center Park, World Trade Center Redesign, WTC Park, WTC Site

If this is your first time hearing anything about the new park planned for the World Trade Center site, that’s probably because it’s been kept relatively covert until now. As mentioned in The New York Times this week, the green space was designed to float above the 9/11 Memorial site, giving visitors elevated views. Read more about the planned park here.

Developer Melvyn Kaufman dies at 87

The New York Times reports that Melvyn Kaufman, a developer who helped to shape Manhattan, has died. Kaufman helped to raise half a dozen skyscrapers in Midtown and other buildings in the financial district, drawing both praise and criticism for his enthusiasms and his eclectic persona. “Kaufman was a romantic, a surrealist, a purveyor of kitsch and a genuine iconoclast and rebel,” said Carter B.

President Obama Expresses Doubts About Keystone XL Pipeline

president obama, administration, speech, government

Since President Obama’s speech in June addressing the issue of climate change, pundits, citizens, and industry leaders have awaited the president’s decision on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. The project would bring diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada all the way across the US and down into the Gulf of Mexico. Debates have raged over its impact on global warming, the economy, and environmental safety. In a recent interview with The New York Times, the President expressed doubts over one of the main arguments for the pipeline – namely that it would create more jobs.